The Kerala state government on Thursday decided to increase the age limit for consuming liquor to 23 years from the previous 21 years. The government will issue an ordinance amending the Abkari Act for this purpose. According to the official release, the cabinet has also decided to recommend to the Governor for issuing the ordinance for the same. This decision was taken during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting in Thiruvananthapuram which was chaired by Kerala Chief Minister Punarayai Vijayan. Previously, it was the United Democratic Front (UDF) which embraced the prohibitionist policy where they brought the state-run bars to a complete shutdown in order to lower down the legal liquor availability within the state.
In September the very same policy was revamped by the state’s CPM-led government and around 700 closed bars were reopened and licenses were allowed to three-star hotels and above. While, some sources also asserted, that these provisions were rarely implemented in Kerala. “There are even practical difficulties for retail outlets in checking the age limit of a person turning up to buy liquor. The only measure possible is to put up warning boards in front of retail outlets, bars and beer parlours. The punishment for the offence also needs to be enhanced,” an official was quoted as saying by the Deccan Chronicle.
In the LDF’s election manifesto and their government’s liquor, it was already mentioned that the minimum age limit for liquor consumption will be raised from 21 to 23 in order to curb down the state’s alcohol consumption. The section 15 of the Abkari Act also states that the sellers which are caught distributing liquor below the prescribed age limit will also be punished. There will be a fine of Rs 5,000 for selling alcohol below the prescribed age.